Former Inspector For The Massachusetts Department Of Agriculture Pleads Guilty To Falsfying EPA Reports
BOSTON – A former inspector for the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Springfield yesterday to making false statements on inspection reports he submitted to federal regulators.
Paul Ricco, 54, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of making false statements after being charged in September 2014. U.S. District Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Feb. 11, 2015.
From March 2010 through May 2012, Ricco was in charge of the Producer Establishment Inspection program at the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture where he inspected establishments that produce, sell and/or distribute pesticides. During that time period, Ricco submitted 15 false reports of purported inspections that he never performed. Ricco submitted the false reports to EPA to conceal the fact that he was not performing environmental inspections which he was required to perform. Those inspections were necessary to insure that pesticide manufacturers across the state were producing and packaging pesticides safely.
The charging statute provides a statutory maximum sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and John K. Gauthier, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, Boston Field Office, made the announcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos A. López of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.